Bhutanese refugees selling quota kerosene illegally
Damak, August 9:
Bhutanese refugees at Damak’s Beldangi camps are selling their quota of kerosene in the local market while illegally cooking food over wood fires. The refugees sell their quota of kerosene through a few retailers at Damak’s Falgunaand Chowk and the Habaldar Chowk. Nearly 1,000 litres of kerosene go out to Damak and the surrounding markets from the three camps at Beldangi every day. A retailer said that the refugees themselves bring the kerosene.
The market price of kerosene is Rs 34 per litre but the refugees sell it for Rs 33 per litre. The Nepal Red Cross Society in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) distribute kerosene in all seven refugee camps. According to figures given
by the Red Cross, 32,730 litres of kerosene is distributed weekly in the Beldangi camp alone.
The refugees in Camps 1, 2 and 3 receive 11,434 litres, 14,131 litres and 7,165 litres weekly,
respectively. The refugees receive 1.5 litre a week for every two persons, and are given an extra half litre for every additional member. A Red Cross official admitted that the refugees are indulged in such an illegal practice, but said, “Our duty is to supply the kerosene. The control and supervision of leakage are not our responsibility.” He said refugees in Jhapa
and Morang camps have been selling kerosene. Justifying their sales, the refugees said that they are forced to sell their quota of kerosene as the relief they are receiving is not sufficient.
A housewife at the Beldangi-1 said they sell the kerosene as the relief amount is not enough to cover expenses. Although the fuel wood is prohibited in the camps, the refugees use it.